As a Muslim Woman and an American citizen, no rx I’m supposedly living in a free country, but how can I be free when my country is afraid of me.
It is currently Ramadan (Sawm), a month of fasting, purifying the spirit and hearing the cry of the poor. Similar to Lent, when Catholics fast to purify their spirit and humble themselves in the face of the lord. Like many religions, Islam focuses on purifying the mind, body and soul, and living righteously, but unfortunately many people dismiss the majority and focus on the minority who commit crimes just like the rest of the world. The media has been using Islam as a scape-goat ever since 9/11 blaming an entire group of people in the name of faith for a crime they have not done. The power of the media is heavily overlooked by the common citizen. We have been taught by our education system to look deeper into a story, understand various perspectives and use cognitive thinking and sadly many of us don’t do that.
It is imperative to understand our education system is literally black and white. We are given one perspective in America from slavery to the present moment. This black and white, Christian agenda leaves everyone else an outlier, making people ignorant to other’s religions, history, and way of life. The constant questioning and ostracizing of people different from us is extremely uncomfortable. It is one thing to inquire, so that you may know and respect what you don’t know, and another to ridicule and blatantly be rude about what you don’t understand. We must take responsibility in understanding the world around us instead of living in our own little cages. At an early age we learn little of our history and are forced to learn about whitewashed America. We’ve witnessed mass groups of people in history being persecuted fighting for freedom, yet we overlook the fact that this is occurring towards Islam today.
One of the most unfortunate things occurring within the Muslim community is the mass forced conversion into Western society. The Muslim community just like the Natives fear being perished and persecuted, so they leave behind their roots, complying in order to live safely in a world that hates who they are. Some people choose to convert because it is what’s in their hearts, and many convert to dodge hate. Many of us cherish free will, so why does the respect of free will vanish when it comes to following a religion? I’ve witnessed people applaud Christian converts because they feel Christianity is right. Should we not applaud people for living their truth regardless of how different it is to our own? Would you still befriend this Christian convert if they remained Muslim? These are things we must ask ourselves whenever we think we truly respect and love one another. For immigrants lots of money, paper work, and emotional ties are on the line before they leave what they’ve always known becoming American citizens. It is not enough to adapt into a new environment and feel like a permanent stranger in a country without your family, friends, & culture; the prejudice of America wants them to leave their faith too.
Many of my Muslim friends who were born in America, are afraid of practicing their faith. One friend, Reema spoke of being “randomly” selected for a special body search while her white colleagues were able to pass without any issue. As a Muslim she has been taught to respect her body and now she has a random person frisking her. We know it wasn’t a random decision and she isn’t the only one going through this. This is the same country who thinks women from Islamic countries are oppressed and abused by men for having to wear veils and cover-ups. My best friend feels uncomfortable wearing her hijab and chooses not to wear it in the effort to stay protected from people who stare and may even pull it off which has happened too many times ever since Trump became president especially in the south. Too often the Muslim community has to declare their patriotism in America. While our Muslim brothers and sisters have to be silenced their culture is dying and hate is thriving. Media propaganda falsely created an image of what Islam is and what a Muslim person looks like. Months ago I created a survey asking indirect questions to understand how people viewed Muslims according to the media (they did not know this). Many voted the average Muslim being a threat, wearing turbans, and the prominent face of terrorism, all statistically false. Majority of people even voted Muslims should assimilate in order to not be a threat…
The falsehood again, is that many don’t even know what a Muslim would look like, or what the religion is even about.This all stems back into learning more about people, doing your own research and seeing with eyes unclouded by hate.
Learning about other faiths does not steer you away from your own. The key to “Making America Great” for the first time in history is to stop persecuting what is different from us.
Written by Leahnora Brown